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Thread: Mike Compton changed my pick grip

  1. #1

    Default Mike Compton changed my pick grip

    In the first few minutes of my first class at ROW I asked some question unrelated to pick grip which somehow led Mike to come over, check my grip and "correct" it.

    I have always held my pick perpendicular to my thumb between the joint and the tip with my index finger curled behind. So it was held in the fleshiest part of my thumb and touching the fleshy bottom pads of two finger joints.

    Mike wanted it closer to bone with a minimum depth of flesh. On the thumb the pick was mover back so that it centered on the joint (ball). He wanted the finger rotated so that, rather than being slightly on the underside of the finger it is as close to the knuckle as i could get it. The pick is thus held between the thumb knuckle and index finger knuckle.

    It seems to me that this accomplishes several things:

    It eliminates the need for strength and stamina in the tips of the thumb and finger.
    It reduces the dampening of the pick which should yield higher volume and clearer tone, especially for tremolo.

    I'd be interested in input from those using this grip to check my understanding.
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  3. #2
    Struggle Monkey B381's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mike Compton changed my pick grip

    Well....I sorta followed you there...
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  4. #3

    Default Re: Mike Compton changed my pick grip

    What could be clearer? Oh yeah...

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    199? Ike Bacon F5
    1945 Levin 330
    192? Bruno (Oscar Schmidt) banjo-mandolin
    200? Olympia OM6-SW
    early Eastwood Mandostang
    2005 Tacoma CB-10 acoustic bass guitar
    Fender Tweed Deluxe clone

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    Registered User Joey Anchors's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mike Compton changed my pick grip

    Thanks for the story/info and picture! Yep I’ve been doing it wrong this whole time. Looks like I need to correct it!
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  7. #5

    Default Re: Mike Compton changed my pick grip

    Ok, this had me running for a mandolin. My grip is similar on the thumb, but not the index finger. I only see half my fingernail of the index finger. I'll experiment.

    Now did he tell you how he can fret notes by floating over the fingerboard? The guy is amazing.
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  8. #6

    Default Re: Mike Compton changed my pick grip

    Quote Originally Posted by Br1ck View Post
    Ok, this had me running for a mandolin. My grip is similar on the thumb, but not the index finger. I only see half my fingernail of the index finger. I'll experiment.

    Now did he tell you how he can fret notes by floating over the fingerboard? The guy is amazing.
    You may just be doing it better, getting the pick closer to the index finger knuckle. The more I do that, the more my other fingers get in the way so I'm still trying to refine this.

    He was the most pleasant and positive of the teachers, not that the others were unpleasant, and since I was in his group I spent many hours with him. It was a real treat.
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  9. #7
    Registered User Willem's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mike Compton changed my pick grip

    I am doing a workshop with Mr. Compton tomorrow (Wednesday). Very much looking forward to it.

  10. #8
    Registered User Hendrik Ahrend's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mike Compton changed my pick grip

    Guess I can relate to that; changed my right hand technique 35 years ago. So did Roland White in 1967 - well, through Monroe's influence rather than Compton's. Happens to the best.

  11. #9
    Registered User Gary Hudson's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mike Compton changed my pick grip

    I've been trying to change to this style from the classical grip, but I feel like I lose some precision and control. I'm guessing with some practice I will adjust.

  12. #10
    Registered User DavidKOS's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mike Compton changed my pick grip

    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Hudson View Post
    I've been trying to change to this style from the classical grip, but I feel like I lose some precision and control. I'm guessing with some practice I will adjust.
    Of course! - the classical grip is for a range of dynamic shadings, tremolo,etc. - the other is more for power and volume in other styles.

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  14. #11
    F5G & MD305 Astro's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mike Compton changed my pick grip

    Great stuff and i'm going to try. But I do think this may vary with style and player. I see Chris Thele playing a lot with sort of the opposite in that most of the pick is hanging out and he is holding more at the fingertips than even I do.
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  15. #12
    Registered User Hendrik Ahrend's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mike Compton changed my pick grip

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidKOS View Post
    Of course! - the classical grip is for a range of dynamic shadings, tremolo,etc. - the other is more for power and volume in other styles.
    David, would you consider this a classical grip?
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    Or how about these? Most of the right hands look pretty bluegrassy to me.
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  16. #13
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    Default Re: Mike Compton changed my pick grip

    Quote Originally Posted by Astro View Post
    Great stuff and i'm going to try. But I do think this may vary with style and player. I see Chris Thele playing a lot with sort of the opposite in that most of the pick is hanging out and he is holding more at the fingertips than even I do.
    Two weekends ago I saw Chris Thile in a solo concert at Lime Kiln in Lexington, Va. I had hoped I might talk with him after the show about his pick grip. Unfortunately that opportunity didn't happen. But as I tried to study his picking throughout the show(two hours non stop) I observed several variations, depending on what he was playing. Everything from the thumb/index finger knuckle variation with fingers in a tight or loose fist to fingers fanned out and finger tip grip. So my take away was that there isn't any ONE way to grasp the pick. There are probably basics as described above, but different music calls for adaptability sometimes, even within a single tune.

  17. #14

    Default Re: Mike Compton changed my pick grip

    Quote Originally Posted by dorenac View Post
    Two weekends ago I saw Chris Thile in a solo concert at Lime Kiln in Lexington, Va. I had hoped I might talk with him after the show about his pick grip. Unfortunately that opportunity didn't happen. But as I tried to study his picking throughout the show(two hours non stop) I observed several variations, depending on what he was playing. Everything from the thumb/index finger knuckle variation with fingers in a tight or loose fist to fingers fanned out and finger tip grip. So my take away was that there isn't any ONE way to grasp the pick. There are probably basics as described above, but different music calls for adaptability sometimes, even within a single tune.
    At that level the grip variation may be all about subtle differences in tone.

    It is often remarked that top level players have a distinct tone with any mandolin they pick up. Pick grip must be part of how they do that. It seems to me that I can hear a difference and will stick with Compton's recommendation.
    199? Ike Bacon F5
    1945 Levin 330
    192? Bruno (Oscar Schmidt) banjo-mandolin
    200? Olympia OM6-SW
    early Eastwood Mandostang
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  18. #15
    Registered User Elliot Luber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Mike Compton changed my pick grip

    As a general rule, I try to do whatever Mike Compton is doing and I'm not. Hasn't failed me yet.
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  19. #16
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    Default Re: Mike Compton changed my pick grip

    Thank you for the photo. I’ve been following this thread and have changed my grip in accordance with the recommendation. It’s been tough sledding but it’s getting better by the day and I am seeing some benefits.

  20. #17
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    Default Re: Mike Compton changed my pick grip

    Before going all in with Compton, I’d check out Mike Marshall’s suggestion: https://youtu.be/NmagoBQunZI

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